The Falling Man

The Falling Man is a photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew, of a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:41:15 a.m. during the September 11 attacks in New York City. The subject of the image, whose identity remains uncertain, was one of the people trapped on the upper floors of the skyscraper who either fell searching for safety or jumped to escape the fire and smoke. At least 200 people fell or jumped to their deaths that day; officials could not recover or identify the bodies of those forced out of the buildings prior to the collapse of the towers. Officially, all deaths in the attacks except those of the hijackers were ruled to be homicides due to blunt trauma (as opposed to suicides). The New York City medical examiner's office said it does not classify the people who fell to their deaths on September 11 as "jumpers": "A 'jumper' is somebody who goes to the office in the morning knowing that they will commit suicide... These people were forced out by the smoke and flames or blown out."

The photograph, shown on the right, gives the impression that the man is falling straight down. A series of photographs were taken of his fall and showed him to be tumbling through the air.

The photographer has noted that, in at least two cases, newspaper stories commenting on the image have attracted a barrage of criticism from readers who found the image "disturbing." Regarding the social and cultural significance of The Falling Man, the theologian Mark D. Thompson of Moore Theological College says that "perhaps the most powerful image of despair at the beginning of the twenty-first century is not found in art, or literature, or even popular music. It is found in a single photograph."

Read more about The Falling ManPublication History, Identification, Documentary Film, Use in Literature

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The Falling Man - Use in Literature
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